Crash Leaves Lufthansa Wide Open to U.S. Litigation

, The National Law Journal


Lufthansa could face wrongful death claims in the United States by the families of the three Americans reported killed in the Germanwings jetliner crash in the French Alps on Tuesday, according to aviation attorneys tracking developments.

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What's being said

  • -Darren McKinney, American Tort Reform Association, Washington, D.C.

    You only help make my point, "Just Saying." At the state level, limiting shysters‘ capacity to undermine the economy is a less controversial, more bipartisan effort. In Washington, particularly in the Senate, where only one lawmaker beholden to the plaintiffs‘ bar can obstruct common sense tort reform with a filibuster or refusal to bring a bill up for a vote, things go differently. But the only folks failing to serve the public interest are those lawmakers in bed with the shysters.

    -Darren McKinney, American Tort Reform Association, Washington, D.C.

  • Just Saying

    Yes, Darren, and in each instance where common sense tort reforms have been enacted at the state level, it has happened over the obstruction of the trial lawyer lobby. But I guess in Washington it‘s easier to blame someone else for one‘s own failings.

  • Liz Brown

    Lufthansa would not be subject to the ADAAA, as it is not an American employer.

  • Darren McKinney, American Tort Reform Association, Washington, D.C.

    You‘ve not been paying attention to the state legislatures, "Just Saying." Because tort reformers have been rolling up significant victories there for many years. Only in Washington, where generous campaign contributors from Motley Rice and other such personal injury firms have owned obstructionists Harry Reid, Dick Durbin and Tom Leahy forever has tort reform stalled in the past 10 years. But don‘t expect that to remain the case indefinitely.

    -Darren McKinney, American Tort Reform Association, Washington, D.C.

  • Tort Reform

    Tort reform for Mr. McKinney obviously means large corporate entities are absolved from any and all liability for their negligence -- regardless of the circumstances.

    Additionally, the EEOC case you reference has no bearing on the article.


  • Just Saying

    I‘ve often wondered why common sense tort reform measures fail to advance in many legislatures. Perhaps one reason is that the executive director of the American Tort Reform Association spends time trolling legal sites leaving vituperative screeds instead of doing the substantive work that would help advance needed legislation.

  • Darren McKinney, American Tort Reform Association, Washington, D.C.

    Mary Schiavo and her fellow ambulance-chasing, lawsuit-pimping parasites at Motley Rice are a disgrace, as is the NLJ for giving them a platform so quickly after a wholly unpredictable and barely imaginable tragedy.

    Litigation certainly won‘t bring back the dead, nor can it fairly seek to place blame on a foreign air carrier for failing to do what U.S. law wouldn‘t allow a domestic carrier to do: namely to discriminate against someone for his/her previous treatment for depression.

    Many facts are yet to be uncovered, of course. But based on what is known today (Mar. 27), it seems that Lufthansa has a solid program in place to periodically subject its pilots to psychological screenings and other health tests. However, if a pilot ultimately lies to screeners about his/her thoughts and emotions, how precisely would the folks at Motley Rice suggest this tragedy could have been prevented?

    Incredibly, our own EEOC recently won a case it brought under the Americans with Disabilities Act on behalf of an alcoholic truck driver who was fired because his employer didn‘t want to risk a DUI tragedy on our nation‘s highways and saw no way to make a "reasonable accommodation" (see And it’s quite reasonable to assume that the EEOC under the current administration wouldn‘t hesitate to bring a comparable suit on behalf of an airline pilot fired because s/he was once treated for depression or other mental health issues. So if Lufthansa is to be sued here under U.S. law, its attorneys should consider an ADA defense, among other strategies.

    -Darren McKinney, American Tort Reform Association, Washington, D.C.

    While we

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